Kombumerri Traditional Custodian Contributor: Uncle Graham Dillon OAM

This resource is related to the following Learning Area –

And responds to the following Enquiry Questions –

Q10.Were weddings and birthdays important to the Kombumerri people and how did this happen? (Celebrations and Corroborees).
Q14.What were the traditional laws, protocols and customs of the Kombumerri people?

Resource transcript –

Sorry Business, worldwide, it affects families to the extent that it can cause families to go into mourning, we call it Sorry Business, for weeks. Some days, sometimes weeks. Others depending on the cultural mores or cultural values can go into months. Depends who the people are and, as I said, their cultural values. And, I clearly remember a family and my wife’s people, they were called in to assist with a particular Sorry Business episode just over the border and a baby had passed away. All gathered there, the Bundjalung and the dancers came there specifically. I have never seen this… not never but I have not seen this before. The dancers themselves as a mark of respect and showing the protocol of the family love connection they had their hairs absolutely… every grain of hair, completely covered with red right down all there body cause the dancers were semi-naked. Well, they were properly attired but the rest of their body was naked and I looked at their feet. Even their toenails, it shows you the aptitude concerning the respect that had for those particular people and families, their toenails were covered in red. There was no part of their body that was not covered in red and that was part of the Sorry Business and of course they did the dancing around the grave and that would have taken in the order of five minutes. So, it shows the deep respect that we have for Sorry Business. Likewise with ceremony, it’s just like if someone… if they get married, both parties, both sides, the father’s side, the mother’s side, they will all be in one accord, and that’s important. Everyone’s happy and then the young couple, in those days, they would go away, they would make a home together. And that’s part of the age old law. When you get married the two become one, which they did. The two young, Yilgahn and Mibin, the warrior and the woman, Yilgahn, they would, after being with family, everyone’s happy, go away and make their own place elsewhere. So, it’s part of the protocol of living and making a family together. With the Sorry Business that was most important because death is not just a passing thing like today, we’ve become impervious to the tenderness of someone passing away, the sorrow, but in those days, very, very sacred. Someone going to sleep, very sacred, very important and there are many ways of how to bury that person too. Especially where you are.